Skip to Main Content (Press Enter)
So Vast the Prison by Assia Djebar
Add So Vast the Prison to bookshelf
Add to Bookshelf

So Vast the Prison

Best Seller
So Vast the Prison by Assia Djebar
Paperback $16.95
May 01, 2001 | ISBN 9781583220672

Buy from Other Retailers:

See All Formats (2) +
  • May 01, 2001 | ISBN 9781583220672

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Oct 05, 1999 | ISBN 9781583220092

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Jan 04, 2011 | ISBN 9781609803056

    Buy from Other Retailers:

Product Details


“Assia Djebar . . .has given weeping its words and longing its lyrics.” –William Gass

“Marx . . . wanted to be a ‘citizen of the world.’ Listening to Assia Djebar’s torn yet majestically flowing voice gives us some sense of what is involved in that admirable aspiration.” –Christopher Prendergast, Times Literary Suplement

“Writing becomes weapon and refuge for the oppressed in this fiercely intelligent, intricate novel set in a tragic, bewitching Algeria. Expressing the bitterness of being caught between traditional Islamic and modern European cultures, married 36-year-old Isma begins her story the summer she has an affair with a student. A highly educated musicologist, Isma is also governed by Islamic tradition. When her husband discovers her dalliance, he beats her, intending to blind her. The affair marks Isma’s awakening and the beginning of her quest for true independence, though she stays with her husband for a little while longer. When she finally leaves him, she embarks on a semi-documentary film project, to be called Arable Woman. Intertwining her experiences in the mountains filming peasant women with memories of her childhood and stories about her female ancestors and relatives, Isma weaves a complicated tapestry of images and sentiments. The tales she unearths are richly detailed and gracefully told, and the book becomes a moving common history of cultural exile and captivity. Djebar, winner of the 1996 Neustadt Prize for Contributions to World Literature, has a talent for narrating the stories of those who are ‘freed and voiceless’ without heavy-handed moralizing or judgment.” Publishers Weekly

“From time to time, we hear about books that supposedly tear away the veil from the lives of Arab women. I don’t know anyone who has done this with more intelligence and passion . . . than Assia Djebar. That murmur beneath her images soon begins to sound like a roar.” –Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered

“[A] polymorphously lyrical novel by . . . Algeria’s foremost literary voice.” –Jonathan Levi, Los Angeles Times Book Review

Looking for More Great Reads?
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
Get the latest updates about Assia Djebar
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
By clicking “SIGN UP”, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use and understand that Penguin Random House collects certain categories of personal information for the purposes listed in that policy, discloses, sells, or shares certain personal information and retains personal information in accordance with the policy. You can opt-out of the sale or sharing of personal information anytime.
Something awesome is on its way.
Back to Top